I am a Changed Man (Part I)

10.28.2005 | 4:50 pm

Last night I was thinking about how little people change. By which I mean that I was thinking that people in general change very little, as opposed to thinking about whether midgets have the ability to transmogrify. Although when you think about it, that would be a pretty cool sidekick-level superpower to have: “Mini-Metamorph: Able to transform into any compact item at will!”

Wow. It didn’t take me long to get off track today, did it?

Anyway, biking has definitely changed me during the ten-plus years I’ve been riding. Both physically and mentally. Today I’m going to talk about the physical part. Monday, I’ll talk about how biking has changed me mentally.

Unless I forget or change my mind.


First Change: My Ring Finger

Back when I was first mountain biking — maybe just a year or so into it — one of my riding group’s favorite yardsticks was the Frank time trial: how fast could you do the seven mile mountain bike trail? The first time I tried doing it for time, I was as nervous as I ever have been for any race. After all, since Frank has a lot of climbing and a technical descent, your time said a lot about what kind of mountain biker you are.

I took the downhill what I like to call “aggressively,” and what my friends would call “spastically and out of control.” In a banked chute toward the end of the ride I picked a bad line and supermanned off my bike, landing with all my weight on my hands. That hurt.

I was so intent on finishing with a good time, though, that I didn’t even worry about my left hand, which I otherwise probably would have made all kinds of whiney noises about. Instead, I got back on my bike and finished the loop. I remember getting a 1:06, which was respectable for a new rider — I think the fast guys were doing it eight minutes faster.

When I got back to work, I thought about calling a doctor, because the tip of my ring finger seemed to be pointing at an odd angle: up at a 30-degree angle. Then I decided not to bother. It continues to point at that weird angle even today. I think my typing has improved because of it.


Most Bothersome, Persistently Painful Change: My Right Shoulder

Whenever my friends and I go to Moab, you can bet that one of the rides we’ll do is a Reverse Porcupine. This simply means that we ride part of the famous Porcupine Rim, but we ride up the part most people come down. This section of trail ridden in this way is full of difficult moves, and provides an excellent opportunity for technically skilled riders to show off their talents…and for technically unskilled riders to fall a lot.

Guess which category I belong in?

Maybe seven years ago, I was trying one of what I thought was the safest of these moves: do a slow-mo 120-degree left turn around a scrub oak, thread the needle between two tight rocks, and then wheelie up a ledge. I didn’t expect to make it, but I wasn’t scared of trying.

Then, at almost exactly zero miles per hour, as I pivoted around the scrub oak, I lost it. The sand kept me from getting out of my pedals in time and I fell over heavily on my right side, sending the combined force of my weight and falling momentum through my outstretched right hand and up my arm.

The screams were incredible.

I had dislocated my shoulder for the first time, and I can promise you the first time is the worst. And that is where what is now known as the “Elden Wail” was first heard.

After I was able to stop screaming — yes, screaming — I walked my bike (I couldn’t ride with a dislocated shoulder and I didn’t know how to set it back then) back to my car and drove the three hours home to go to the hospital, where the emergency room doctor put my shoulder back where it belongs.

My shoulder now pops out quite easily, thank you, and while it still hurts each time, I now know what to do. But I can’t sleep on my right side, I can’t throw, I can’t rotate my right arm in certain ways or lift it very high, and I always know when it’s going to rain.

And as an aside, I think it’s a testament of my friends’ dedication to their craft — as well as their quality as human beings — that nobody volunteered to go back with me. Hey, at least I know where I stand.



Most Visible Change: My Lip

I’ve talked about this wreck before, but essentially I wiped out on one of my favorite trails (Dry Canyon, coming down off Frank) one day for no apparent reason. I tore my lip all the way to just below my nose. I guess it says something about me that when the doctor gave me suggestions on steps I could follow to minimize the visibility of the scar — as well as a recommendation for a plastic surgeon who could essentially make it disappear — I brushed it off.

So now I have a nice, white scar that is always visible — increasingly so with every day I skip shaving. I sometimes wish my wreck would have a more interesting story behind it, but at least I got it while doing what I love best. And by "what I love best," I am referring to biking, not wrecking and sliding on my face. I just want to be clear on that point.

The only really unfortunate thing about this scar is that it totally screws up my goatee. I used to be able to grow one of the nicest goatees you had ever seen — when combined with my sinister-looking eyebrows, this beard made me look intense, as well as evil. Complete strangers would stop and comment on how evil I looked. "Hey, fat dude on a bike, you look full-on wicked evil!" they would say.

Now, however, the scar breaks up the beard and makes it look asymmetrical. Alas.


Best Change: My Legs

I sometimes like to imagine the me from the present challenging the me from the past to a bike race. Even though I weigh about ten pounds more than I did when I first started riding, I am absolutely confident I could kick my own past tense self’s butt. "Who is that fast, fat guy with the scar on his lip?" the me from the past would ask.

The thing is, riding a bike for ten years or so changes your legs. Even at my fattest and most out of shape, I could — with total confidence — challenge some generally ultra-fit non-cyclist to a bike race and utterly humiliate him. Or her, I guess, except I’m married and even before I was married was not the kind of person who would casually challenge women to sports contests. Mercy, I am a rambling fool today.

Anyway, this base of leg fitness stays with you. Once or twice, I’ve stopped biking during the winter and picked it up again in the spring. Sure, you hurt at first, but it’s nothing like starting over.

I don’t know: maybe if I stopped riding for a full year, that magical leg strength would vanish, but I prefer to think instead that by biking all these years, my legs are now fundamentally and permanently different from what they were before.

And that change — to me — easily makes all the other changes worth it. Because those physical changes are the entry fee for the mental changes — which I will, as I’ve mentioned, talk about Monday, and which are not, in spite of today’s post, absentmindedness and a tendency to ramble.


We’re Not So Different, You and I

I doubt that any cyclist — especially of the mountain biking variety — has ridden for more than a year or two without getting some sort of permanent personal souvenir (which is my overwrought way of saying "injury"). But we’re all willing to live with the inevitability.

So, two questions for you: what have you got to show for your years of riding, and was it worth it?


Today’s weight: 162.2. Which I’m sure has nothing to do with all the bite-sized candy bars laying around the house, which should be Halloween candy, but which have a low probability of surviving to Halloween.


Bonus Office Entertainment: Apart from general pansiness, I had a motive for driving to work a couple days ago: I was bringing in a chinup bar, which I have installed in my office doorway. My idea is to do 3-5 chinups, several times per day, trying to improve my pathetic upper body strength. What’s fun, though, is watching other people eye the chinup bar as they go by. Some look at it briefly and dismiss it, some stop and test it, then walk away. So far, nobody has actually done a chinup on it. I am currently developing theories on why this is so.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 5:21 pm

    Back when I was in college, I put a chinup bar outside my room. I could only do one chinup. My roommate and I made a pact that every time we entered or left the room we would stop and do *one* chinup on the bar. We did that for a few months and then we did a test. I was able to do 34 chinups. So just doing one at a time will make a big difference if you do it every day.As for leg changes, you can always recognize a bike rider by his Vastus medialis muscle. That’s the one just above the kneecap and on the inside side of the leg. For some reason, cycling develops this muscle in a way that other sports just don’t.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 5:29 pm

    I think what I’ve gotten the most of from riding, particularly the mountain bike is that I like pain & suffering.Not the hit me with the paddle or tweak my nipples mistress kind. I seem to like the solo 24 hour races, the 100 mile treks through the wilderness of Northern Canada to riding across Kenya & Tanzania & camping in the wilds. These rides don’t usually agree with me though. I often fall asleep on the 24 rides (while riding of course), get severely lost up north & have to scramble to stay away from the wildlife.And why is that trees, branches & rocks always seem to jump out when I approach?I gotta agree with the legs though.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 5:37 pm

    while i’m sure what’s his name who crashed on a trackbike has stuff that makes my stuff look downright dutch, i’ve got a few souvineers.i’ve got a knot on the top knuckle of my right pinky finger (which is crooked now, and doesn’t straighten all the way). this from cartwheeling about 20 meters down an almost vertical slope near the bottom of the porcupine singletrack.I’ve got a large purple/pink patch of skin on my left hip, several inches across, from sliding on rough pavement on the alpine loop at about 35 mph. when i first incurred this injury, the wound went deep enough that there was an actual lip at the edge of it, like a bomb crater.my left thumb goes numb when it rains. i think this is from riding straight into the side of the delivery truck that turned in front of me and herniated my c4 and c5 vertebrae. feeling has gradually gotten better in my left hand over the 7 years since the accident.the other day i was in a business meeting, sitting at a conference table, wearing a short sleeve shirt. i was sitting with my elbows on the table, chin in my hands, and the woman across the table was staring at my arms. she looked up and said "what happened to you, were you in some kind of accident or fire or something?" my arms are criss-crossed with small scars, none of which is that outstanding, but combined give the impression of having been a prisoner of war or something.kim (my wife) is always asking me to put neosporen on my cuts when i get home from a ride. "and give up this tapestry chronicling my ride history?" not a chance.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 5:39 pm

    Fatty,I am a long-time reader, first time poster. Hello! I just wanted to note that I have the dislocated shoulder too, from riding on a slippery rocky stream bed (actually, from falling on the slippery stream bed.) And a big scar on my chin, from flying off a ledge without knowing there was a rock where my front wheel. An evil rock,no smaller than a human head. What I remember now is how, in the moment between when I saw the rock and when I smashed into it, time seemed to expan, so much so that I distinctly remember having time to think, "this is going to hurt a lot."And it did.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 6:34 pm

    That does it. I really must start cycling. It sounds fun.It might be quicker and cheaper and perhaps more of a rush to step in front of an express train, though. I’m conflicted.Please advise.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 6:41 pm

    The GoodHow can any cyclist discussion of muscle adaptation not mention the "cut" in the back of the calf? I’ve always heard that, even more than Stan’s lump above the knee, is a cycling specific development. The BadAnd how can any cyclist discussion of the pitfalls of cycling not refer to that saddle sore that’s turned into a cyst that really ought to get cut out, except you haven’t figured out when you can take that much time off the bike to get it taken care of?The UglyNot sure yet if this is going to be permanent or if it will eventually fade away. Earlier this year, I was in the middle of one of the local training rides when, at about 30 mph, in the middle of 100 or so riders, I found myself on the ground (along with a dozen or so other riders). When I got home and examined the damage, in addition to the more typical road rash, I found a long bloody stripe extending from the inside of my upper arm, through my ‘pit, and down my side. I found this puzzling — how the heck did I hit the road in a way that would cause that injury?Of course, it wasn’t from the road. On my way down, with my hands still in the drops, I had apparently landed on someone else’s back wheel and the tread, spinning at about 30 mph, had left a "tire burn".My friends seem to think this was actually a good thing, arguing that if I’d hit pavement without that tire slowing my fall, the impact would have turned my collarbone from it’s current "v" (sadly not the result of a cycling accident) into an "s". The jury remains out.Regards,Jake (not the one that "home courted" FC)

  7. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 7:07 pm

    >>>Or her, I guess, except I’m married and even before I was married was not the kind of person who would casually challenge women to sports contests. Yes, well, I too believe in not challenging people who would kick my ass.Oh, sorry, what’s this, not insult day?

  8. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 7:41 pm

    I guess what I have to show from my years of cycling are all of the collective stories. You never know what will happen every time you go out. My favorites are epic road or mtn bike rides. I am pushing fifty and really don’t fit the "Cyclist" look, definately not Asos material(but I guess that is a good thing!) But anyway, it is worth every minute on the bike for the look of disbelief in the eyes of cyclists and non-cyclists when the stories are told.Fatty,This blog is too much fun, keep up the great work!

  9. Comment by Andrew | 10.28.2005 | 7:47 pm

    A real mountain biker, or perhaps just a real bad mountain biker, ends up with a distinctive line of teeth marks on the back of the right calf, a result of the big ring digging into you during a gravity check. Whenever I’m in a spinning class, I consider any guy who doesn’t have that permanent tattoo on his calf to be a comtemptable sissy.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 7:50 pm

    Various leg scars, shin bumps and discolorations – crossing wheels on crits in the younger days did tend to leave it’ s marks.The most noticable trophy is on the side of my rt shin – a large raised purple welt. But this one is not so glorious as a cartwheel in the fury of a bunch sprint or dropping off a large rock ledge. No, this beaut came right after my return to cycling and a 12 year lay-off. Put a pair of SPD pedals on my new Rockhopper. Clipped in, but did’nt start to pedal right away. Also my track stand skills had deminished appeciabley. And was in view of my new girl friend. Right next to lawn chair. She thought I had mad skills.Now anything I do that could be construed as klitzy, will be. And the story will of course be embellished. That’s how urban legends get started.But, I didn’t scratch the bike, straightened the lawn chair, and road away gracefully after untangling from the mess.That really hurt.Boz

  11. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 7:55 pm

    Never have sand/grime gunk up your pedals again.Atacs or eggbeaters man! titanium preferably.

  12. Comment by Zed | 10.28.2005 | 8:26 pm

    I used to ride the trails on my cheapo bike back in the day. One time, I digressed from the trail into the grass on a downhill. My front wheel clipped a rock and I landed on my back on another rock or a chunk of leftover concrete or something. After three hours of staring at my X-rays, the doctor finally figured out I’d broken my shoulderblade.

  13. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 8:36 pm

    Fatty,I am not happy you dissed my tip of the hat to the Bard. I did not capitalize his name on purpose but that blew right on by you didn’t it? Well, actually I am hurt because I thought my insult was the best one out of sheer originality regardless of the inspiration of it. My injury tales probably won’t impress you either. Two stick out. One was when I broke my hip when I buried a pedal on a turn (lesson-keep the pedal on the inside of your turn up through the turn) going very fast, came off the bike and busted the hip. Got on, rode home, rode the next day and the day after and on and on without cease with a leg that was purple and black from my hip to my shin and all around. Impressed my nieghbor such that he even photographed the "sorbet leg". Went to a clinic and made them drain the blood from the hemotoma a couple of times. Kept riding. Years later, a doctor diagnosed what had happened, explaining the appearance of severe bruising as an indication of broken bones. I guess I missed that while I was in the midst of it all, but I didn’t want to lose any fitness. The only other injury story that’s any good was when I jumped hard after I realized that my buddy Al was sleazing a city sign sprint out from under me. I was strong that year, so strong that I sheared the cog off the freewheel body, putting me into instant neutral which threw me to the ground and shattered my elbow. Rode the 20 miles home, but did not ride the next day. But, I did get back on the bike first thing early next season, because I did not want to be thought of as soft. Well, here’s hoping my injury tales will get me a place in the top ten…. Because my Bard comment failed!!!!! Waaaahhhh…….

  14. Comment by Nina | 10.28.2005 | 9:02 pm

    People who know me know that I love biking but they also know that I don’t do it very well. I’m kind of like Rudy except without the happy ending. I always come back from mountain bike rides with scrapes, cuts, bruises, chain grease all over my leg, those "bite" marks the other guy was talking about etc… It’s not very lady like but I don’t care, I have fun anyway. So far (knock on pressed wood), the worst I’ve done to myself was losing consciousness on a pretty unimpressive descent. No roots, rocks, or divots (it might as well have been paved), just a slight "ramp" at the end that wasn’t very steep at all. I went flying down the hill and as I’m approaching the "ramp", I think "Wow, I’ve never gone this fast down this hill before." Then, "I’m gonna show my friends how high I can get clearing this jump (yep, I had an audience)." Then…nothing. I wake up and I remember dreaming that I made it and everyone was clapping but no, that was my friend trying to wake me up by clapping his hands together in front of my face. I managed to crack my helmet, scrape my elbow, knee and the top of a shoulder almost to the bone. I have nice purple marks in those places to prove it. But I lived to do it again some day.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 9:20 pm

    I think you’re just trying to make up for that big wimp-out of a couple of days ago.

  16. Comment by Kenny | 10.28.2005 | 9:25 pm

    Dug,I was hoping you’d mention your bloody nipples.

  17. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 10:20 pm

    Speaking of biking and bloody nipples: I haven’t really got into biking, because, well, I lost my virginity to a bike, yes, that’s right, LOST it To a bike!!!! I was about 8 yrs old, and had a 3 speed (it was the 70’s what?), riding down a steep hill, hit the front brake, instead of back, head over heels… right into the most private area a girl can have! Now you know why the girl’s bikes have a slope and boy’s don’t… needless to say, it was a hand me down from one of my 7 brothers (boys bike). I’ll never forget it.. you never forget your first.

  18. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 10:40 pm

    Nothing points out a mountain biker like the shins. As with dug’s arms, my shins look like I was subjected to some shin flailing torture. Other than that, I’ve been pretty lucky, other than the broken calcaneus, patella, and pinky finger (all seperate accidents), and my trick shoulder (got whacked by a honda accord, and the guy calls me after I get out of the hospital and asks how I’m going to pay for damages to his car!) and torn MCL.Botched

  19. Comment by Unknown | 10.28.2005 | 10:59 pm

    This is bad ju-ju, karma, and a tempatation of everything sacred about cycling. Fatty is trying to get back at all his readers for the disses dished out at his invititation. He does not good-naturedly accept honest or any other brand of criticism. By getting us to fess stories of aches and wounds, Fatty is trying to jinx our riding for the near term. That said, those that I ride with think that I am unbreakable. I should be broken. I should be really broken. Aside from the normal numerous cuts, bruises, and the occasional hematoma, I have very little of a permanent nature to show for the numerous crashes and close calls over the past ten years. What I have to show for my miscues are some really ripply shins (I shredded my shin so badly that it filled my shoe with blood–my daughter took photos of it–maybe Fatty should ask for some macabre photos of crash fodder), slash scars on my arms from the juniper branches that I invariably ride too close to, permanent purple spots on both of my knee caps, one perpetually semi-numb hand pad, and a sticky spot in my neck from a 25 mph crash with a baby-head boulder that landed me on my head, shattered my helmet, and left me loopy for days. Coincidentally, that last one happened on the Porcupine Rim Singletrack.THAT said, I will probably make my next comment from the ER. Karma…she sucks.

  20. Comment by AO | 10.28.2005 | 11:25 pm

    Rocky, for your own sake do NOT attend Moab05.Rocky, for OUR sake DO attend.Looking forward to hearing about the carnage…

  21. Comment by tayfuryagci | 10.28.2005 | 11:26 pm

    I have 2 major injuries after 2,5 years of mountain biking.I had 6 stitches after the front chainring "stabbed" me in my right leg. I was in an adrenaline rush ( ever had 3 fierce bloodthirsty monstrous dogs chase you with great enthusiasm? you probably have) and my right foot slipped off the pedal. I got it back on immediately and only after about five or six minutes (ditching the dogs) I saw the trail of blood behind me. luckily there was an emergency room nearby. I had a minor surgery and swore never to take that trail ever again. ( eventhough there’s the most beautiful singletrack around)about a month ago I was at a MTB cup (it was on the UCI calendar). near the end of the first lap I fell of my bike on my right ankle HARD. it hurt like hell for just a second but then it vanished. I finished the first lap and got disqualified for lagging too far behind. ( something about a %80 rule) I got off the bike took a shower and than looked at my ankle. which I almost forgot until it got as big as a tree trunk. I took three advils hoping it’d get me through the elite’s race. (I really wanted to watch it.) when I came hme and ater ignoring wxcruciating pain for a week I went to see an orthopedician. it turned out I had torn a ligament. the torn part was about an in. it still hurts bad and there’s nothing I can do about itbut taking a whlo lot of NSAIDs.I afterall dont have much souvenirs. (except a lame leg and a minor hyperpigmented scar) but I hope I’ll get many more after a few more years of riding.

  22. Comment by Unknown | 10.29.2005 | 1:27 am

    Oh, it’s hospital tales day? Right then. When I were a wee lad…As an ex paratrooper, lifelong rugby and ice hockey player, I’m not terribly impressed by most of the injuries involving bikes. I’ve seen some doozies elsewhere, lot’s of green stick leg fractures (parachutes & rugby); lots of lost teeth and badly disfigured fingers (hockey, rugby); lots of blown hip joints, blown knees, and broken backs (parachutes mainly, but the others too). I even saw an exploded testicle once. (Rugby, not my testicle thankfully). Oh, and terrible human bite wounds. (Rugby on the field, parachutists in bar fights). And the general military stuff – nearly a decade, a bit spent in combat units, which are nearly as dangerous in peacetime training as they are in wartime operations. Ever seen what happens to the passengers when a Bradley locks the brakes? Hint: Tracked vehicles have a lot of traction, and don’t skid. Or what happens to a jumper who drops, with 100 pound pack, into pine trees that have a lot of dead branches? And did I mention I spent some time as an EMT? So I’m not impressed with the magnitude individual injuries related to biking. What does impress me with biking injuries, however, is the suddenness, severity, and rash-like series of injuries that can occur to a single rider, or to ten or fifty riders all at once, for no apparent reason. Betcha can’t have just one… As for the single rider thing, I’ve been there. I descended into a steep bowl going full tilt on my first mountain bike, an ancient Kona. When I got to the bottom of the 75 – 100 foot descent, I realized that there was no real bottom on the bottom of the bowl. At the bottom, the front wheel needed to start upwards, before the rear had finished going downwards. Unfortunately, I realized this as my family jewels were hitting the crossbar, followed momentarily by my ribs, then my jaw. So as I was spitting the tooth chips out of my mouth, and wondering about the new permanent lump between my ribs, and calculating the odds of being able to have sex ever again, it hit me: I’d never suffered so many injuries all at once in my life. I think I had a couple broken thumbs, some leg cuts, and something was wrong with my ear, but that stuff didn’t really register until later. Nothing short of a car wreck or failed parachute (or a girl named Laverne who wasn’t quite divorced from Earl) can cause so many problems, so fast. Did I mention I didn’t have insurance then, so there was no doctor, and definitely no good drugs other than Budweiser to ease my pain? I was so fouled up from that crash, that I peed blood for about two days, I had headaches for about a month, and my wife freaked out when she recently saw me refitting another old Kona (with a dented top tube, courtesy of my ribs) to commute. "You aren’t going to start mountain biking again, are you? Because I remember the last time…" As for the multiple rider thing, the TDF is the great example, the thing every hopeless crasher with a deathwish should aspire to. Every year, there is a mass wipeout or three. Usually in the rain, usually on a nice surface, and usually with some hapless dutchman at the bottom of it. The riders come up with broken collarbones, broken shoulders, enormous gashes in the legs, missing teeth, skull fractures, broken hypodermics, and most tear-inducingly of all, ripped Assos bib shorts. When a rider in a pack goes down, it’s not like a car crash where a couple cars go bumpy-bump, a few get crumpled, and a lot of others get dinged. It’s more like a hand grenade went off in a crowded phone both – severe injury, blood, lost teeth, broken bones for everyone, carnage that makes an abbatoir look like a vegan commune. Fortunately, Merck, Phizer, Johnson & Johnson, and the Southside Crips produce enough, um, treatments, to help them continue riding. But when the peleton goes down… Oh, the humanity… The other thing that’s impressive about bikes is the casual, day to day bloodshed we all wear like a badge. Somebody mentioned saddle sores and cysts. Nice. Can I have bruised shin from inadvertantly clipping out? Bruised shin for fifty. How about a rolled ankle, from pedaling through a turn clipped in, catching the pedal, having the top of your foot drag under the pedal, and then pedaling over your own foot as you shoot through the curve? Rolled ankle for 80. Bonus points for the guy who crushes his jewels on the top tube as a result of the world class mid-turn waggle this produces. How about catching your fingers between the spokes of a spinning wheel and the frame when you are trying to true it on the bike? Anybody here ever get a blood blister trying to mount a wire beaded clincher? The list is minor, but like the costs of upgrading and maintaining the bike, it goes on and on, yet somehow we take perverse pride in it. I’m starting to think it would be cheaper, easier, and less perverse, to just join an S&M club. But then, anybody can do that.

  23. Comment by Mark | 10.29.2005 | 2:37 am

    Injuries are cool. But have you ever been hit by a flying dead female deer carcass in the middle of nowhere? When I say hit, I do mean that the formerly alive animal (areo-Bambi, if you will) flew threw the air at a high rate of speed after being struck by an oncoming truck and hit me square on my bicycle as I made a short descent at a high rate of speed. Some divine aspect of the universe was favoring me that day, as I didn’t hit the chipseal and limped away with just a tweaked rear wheel. (I wasn’t wearing an helmet that day, either. Call it mid twenties bravado…)My cousin, who is a racer in the Southeast, loves to tell the story after a long race day in the humidity…

  24. Comment by Ariane | 10.29.2005 | 3:05 am

    Hmm… I have yet to be really seriously injured, I think. The worst I’ve done was probably when I was a kid in SoCal. My buddy Ian and I were racing from his house at the top of this hill to mine, in a cul de sac at the bottom, as fast as we could go. I never won these things. I wanted to this time, needed to. So, abandoning what sense I may have had, I swore not to touch my brakes ’til my house. And I didn’t, and I won. And… I also couldn’t stop in time, flew right by my house, out of the cul de sac, down the couple steps to the street below, right into the side of a parked car, denting the passenger-side door. But I escaped with only a gashed knee and elbow, some bruises, and vomiting from where the handle bars nailed me in the stomach. So… dunno. Thirteen-year-old girls are invincible? I wonder what the driver thought about the bloody dent in his car…Usually, I biff it in incredibly lame ways. Like today, I came home from college, and was about to dismount my bike. My right foot clicked out, but the left only half-way did, and, after teetering a minute, I just kinda keeled over sideways. Of course the Neighbors were out, so they got to watch their least favorite neighbor flop about kicking one leg in the air helplessly for a minute. I’m sure it was very satisfying for them. Cretins.

  25. Comment by Carolynn | 10.29.2005 | 5:02 am

    And have any of your close relatives had any serious injuuries from biking? 2 perhaps ? One smart enough to give it up, the other is younger and hasn’t figured out that when you almost die it is ok to quit.

  26. Comment by Unknown | 10.29.2005 | 6:21 am

    Isn’t it wierd (Al alluded to this) how when you have a nasty crash, only the most salient owie shows up first. But then as you go through the ’systems check’, you realize that, "that hurts, and so does that, and ouch, wait a minute, that lump wasn’t there before." And then someone says, " you have a little blood on your_____", or "you might want to have that checked out" or "does your femur always jut out of your shorts like that?" You end up counting numerous aches, pains, and discomforts over the next couple of days while new contusions and bruises arise seemingly out of no where.

  27. Comment by plazticman | 10.29.2005 | 6:27 am

    Ok famous biking dude.Never been here before. Well thats not true I accidently came here during the tour de france. But back than I was just starting my blog and pretty much a nobody. I rode the STP a couple of times on my dads ancient schwinn but thats about the extent of my biking thing. I suppose If I want your help I need to get to the point Becuase i SEE YOU GET A ZILLION COMMENTS A DAY oops I hate that cap lock button. It is like I have no volume control. I suppose I could fix it. Oh The point. Yes I have one. I have this friend. She wants my help. this help is tied to a sister of yours. I do not have all the details. My blog is NOT a political one. (normally) should I help her? If possible can you give me your take?

  28. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.29.2005 | 6:36 am

    juspasenthru – If the teeth marks on your leg are a scar then your gory story and the glory is valid. If it’s just a greasy mark, you’re a grub and not worthy of any bike better than a kmart ’some assembly required’ deluxe.

  29. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.29.2005 | 6:55 am

    I broke my cheek, skull, 3 vertabrae and needed 3 stitches above the right ear. No! That is not my career total, that’s was one accident. But the other guy looked worse. This guy knocked me off by falling into my front wheel. It was a track race in the days before disc wheels were allowed in bunch races. So…… I had stainless steel blade spokes. And he got sliced like sushi.Oh, I nearly forgot, one time a handkerchief broke my collarbone.

  30. Comment by Unknown | 10.29.2005 | 7:20 am

    Like every woman I personally know, I hate goatees and I am chortling because you can’t have one! Yesssssss! Those things make a man look so … well… so… kind of girly. I love a neat full beard.And even I have bicycle war stories!One time I went down a steep hill in Palos Verdes like the proverbial bat, not knowing that the paved road ended abruptly. I realized my error too late and locked up the "brakes" but I went arse over teakettle onto my left arm and ripped off some pounds of flesh. I was 7. At 17, while riding in a convertible in a wooded park during the senior party, a cyclist came out of the woods directly in front of the car. The driver swerved and hit a stump, I went over the windshield and onto the roadway on my face, right shoulder, right hand, followed by right hip and thigh, slid quite a ways, too. (Remember, we didn’t have seat belts in my day.) Graduated swathed in bandages practically from headbone to bum. Needed lots of repair later. Still don’t run over cyclists, though.

  31. Comment by plazticman | 10.29.2005 | 8:16 am

    Oh Yeah. I have a story for you to. For this one I have to go way back. Way, Way back. To the year 1974. I was 8 years old and living in sunny California. We were heading back from the beach. We being my family and my uncle Pat’s family. We made a stop on the way home in this little out of the way picinic area. It was your typical southern California hilly area. Lots of dust a few trees and an awesome dirt trail going down a steep hill. Not being one to miss an opportunity at riding my bike down a steep hill I quickly grabbed mine from the back of the van. My younger cousin wanted to ride to so I offered to let him sit on the back of my bike. (as long as he pushed the bike up the hill hehe) I remember it was hot and dry and I still can taste the dust as I start to bring the images back. The ride down was great. Lots of bumps. and very steep. I was flying. Wheels just skipping barely on the surface of the earth while gravity was playing a constant tug of war against the laws of motion. Then it happened. As we got closser to the bottom I saw one of the tottlers playing in the middle of the trail. I felt I would never stop in time. I turned my head and yelled " Hold Onnn tight". I quickly turned my bike off the trail and put her in a slide. as the bike laid down I attempted to ride the frame but couldn’t hold on. So I slid down the rest of the hill face first with my cousin still holding on. Mind you we just got back from the beach. All I was wearing was a pair of shorts. It took 15 years before my left nipple grew back. It still looks shorter than my right.

  32. Comment by pete | 10.29.2005 | 11:47 am

    I’m not a Mountain Biker; strictly road. So I don’t have as much too boast about as you guys! The most recent way I found to inflict pain on myself was to miss the pedal when trying to take off at traffic lights and grind that SPD all the way up my shin with all the force I could muster. I think I’ll have two little rows of indentations up my leg until they nail the coffin shut.The other takes us back to the distant days of the mid-eighties when I was the proud owner of a Raleigh Chopper (if you’re unfamiliar with the vehicle, have a look here http://www.rcoc.co.uk/ .) One fateful day, I was happily riding along when I came to a bend in the road. Unfortunately, as I tried to turn, the handlebars sheared off in my hand and I was hurtled towards a large and sturdy stone wall. The Chopper’s high-backed seat makes it impossible to simply jump off the back in such a situation and, as the impact propelled me forwards while the bike remained stationary, I barely had time to reflect on another feature of its iconic design. The chunky gear lever on the top tube connected with my still-developing gonads at a fearsome clip and I was left in a gasping heap with nothing to look forward to but an ignominious and painful walk home.PS I think Al Maviva should make the next of his enormous posts entirely in |_33t 5p3a|<

  33. Comment by Unknown | 10.29.2005 | 1:58 pm

    Now yall have done it. I had a nice Mtn Bike ride planned for today, was even going to do Buck Hill but after reading all the comments I’m afraid to ride. Guess I’ll take the day off and polish my Trophies, that’ll probably take all day. Oh yeah, Recumbent, Recumbent, Recumbent, I love the way that word gets people going, you’ll understand Recumbents better after riding for 50 yrs and the pain in your neck from arthritis starts getting to you, but then you have to deal with "Recumbent Butt". If your going to live life, you’ve got to pay the price.

  34. Comment by Unknown | 10.29.2005 | 9:53 pm

    Found the perfect joke for you Fat: A piece of pavement walked into a bar. It gruffly ordered a beer, drank it down in one gulp, slammed his money on the counter, and then left."Whew!" sighed the bartender. "That was a close one!""Why?" Asked another customer."That guy that was just here? He’s a Cycle Path."

  35. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.30.2005 | 6:37 am

    stan – 34 chinups, or 3-4 chinups? there’s a difference.remdog-moots – you’re jumping the gun with the ‘i like pain and suffering’ bit. we’re talking about how cycling affects you mentally in monday’s edition. that said, i’ve noticed the same thing: perception of pain as a good thing seems to come with the territory. c-r-e-e-p-y.dug – that time you went over the edge at porcupine i was pretty much certain you were going to die. i am not exaggerating. i could not believe that you were able to walk away from that tumble.john g – yes, you’re exactly right — time can stretch before a big fall. i remember clearly thinking the words ‘this is bad’ as i went over the handlebars at gold bar rim. on the other hand, time can also compress. there’ve been falls where i didn’t even realize i was going down and then i was sliding on my chest. you’re riding, you’re sliding — no transition.brooklyn – you already suffer plenty, so i hereby exempt you from cycling. though i think you’d find it a completely different kind of suffering, which may in fact alleviate the other kind. jake – please, let’s not talk about the cyst. branded by a tire burn, though, wow. i would hate to suffer through the pain, but would pay good money to have the scar.al – for you, it’s always insult day. hey, you’ve got the domain, you’ve got an image to maintain.dkirkavitch – you and i ride for the same reason: stories. i’ve got to believe that’s half of why most of us ride. you enjoy it in the moment, then embellish it for the future.juspasenthru – hm. i don’t have that big ring scar. i guess i’m a contemptible sissy. i’ve suspected that all along, alas.boz – those pride scars smart like crazy, don’t they? got a few of them myself.craig – yep, i’ve been on eggbeaters for a few years now, and before that, atacs. probably going back to atacs soon; the eggbeaters have unresolvable problems as far as i’m concerned. that clogged cleat problem happened back when i rode speedplays, which are good pedals but can really leave you screwed if they get jammed with sand.jimserotta – i’ve always wondered what would happen if i stuck a pedal in a high-speed corner. that was an incredibly vivid description. as far as being unhappy abou the contest, i have two thngs to say. first, you made the honorable mention list, which is such a big deal that you should put it on your resume. second, any time you are not happy, simply say to yourself, "i have a serotta." then you’ll be happy again. ninacan – everybody i ride with knows i have horrible technical skills, too. after a while, though, people will seek you out for just that reason. everyone loves to watch a guaranteed train wreck.ellrod – and what if i am?kenny – i was hoping you’d mention that knob that sticks about an inch and a half out of your shoulder.bloggerlaurabella – this blog’s all about sharing, but in this instance, maybe you should have made an exception.botchedexperiment – yes, you’ve been very nearly accident indeed.rocky – i don’t think you’re unbreakable. in fact, i’ve seen you break repeatedly. truth be known, i plan to dedicate the tuesday edition of my blog to the times i’ve seen you broken. and nikared knows what i’m talking about; i’ve already outlined it for him (he wanted to know what the yellow handlebars chatter was about between you and dug).tayfuryagci – man, i wish i could read your blog. you’ve obviously got some seriously great stories to tell. meanwhile, yeah, i’ve raked my calf pretty well with the ol’ eggbeaters. interesting pattern.al maviva – one of the guys who will be in moab next week likes to talk both about rugby and his desire to beat me up. your story has not made me excited to see this guy. regardless, someday i hope to get you and big mike in a room, and i’ll just sit back and listen to you two swap tales. i have lived a sheltered life.thelastbard – you know, if had caught that on video, america’s funniest animals would have paid you $500 for it for sure.a.toad – shouldn’t you be studying?mom – you know, i hadn’t thought about it until you just spelled it out. your face plant, kellene’s fall off a cliff. i’m doomed to bike wrecks in perpetuity just because of the genetics, aren’t i?thePhrid – i can tell you’re being vague for a reason, but i honestly don’t understand where you’re going. do me a favor and email me so we can talk about this favor less cryptically.big mike – dude, you are not helping my track racing confidence level.mumo – my wife loved my goatee. everyone loved my goatee. you would love my goatee. you can see a very old picture of me with a goatee here:http://www.fatcyclist.com/fattywithgoatee.jpgthe_cosh – i now choose to aknowledge that you are the one and only cosh. that said, i suggest that while road bike scars come less frequently than mountain bike ones, when they come, they are much bigger and scarier. the road does not forgive.mrbill – hey, how’d that cigarette and beer 50 go? also, remember, every mountain biker accepts that they will have a nasty crash someday, but every mountain biker also knows that TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.mercy. that was a lot of replying.

  36. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.30.2005 | 6:38 am

    ooooo…I can’t wait until Tuesday. Okay, we’re talking about PHYSICAL breaking, as in bones, sinewy stuff, shattering and snapping, right? Like your shoulder, like Alan’s nasty South facing thumb, like dug’s high-speed intersection with a car, right? That handlebar hurt like a mutha, but nothing broke…just the bar, and of course, my pysche. I have all of my teeth, and I bear no lasting physical injuries. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say…did I lose consciousness a few times that I am unaware of?

  37. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 10.30.2005 | 2:44 pm

    Hey there, Fatty! Just dropped by for my daily bellylaugh! I gotta admit, I like your site here! C’mon by and visit mine sometome if ya wanna see a TRUE fat bicyclist though, (Not gonna steal your thunder or nickname!), and the luckiest near miss I ever had was when I missed a trailmarker and went off a drop I wasn’t planning on(My brakes couldnt even slow me down before the lip!) that to me looked like 30 feet! it wasn’t though, it was more like 8′ vertical onto a 70 degree slope! I would have been fine too, except for that pesky branch at chest height on the downslope! I had a Wile E. Coyote moment, hanging by the chest on that $%#@ BRANCH! Then I hit the dirt and rolled against the tree trunk, groaning! No injury but pride, but if ya gonna wreck, do it with STYLE!

  38. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.30.2005 | 3:41 pm

    stormcroweprime – i’ve been reading your blog on whenever you post something new; gotcha on my rss reader. great stuff.

  39. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 10.31.2005 | 12:31 am

    Hmm. This post really speaks to me. I, too, have dislocated a shoulder or both and experienced the "sneeze hard enough and it pops right out" feeling. Then I had both of them arthroscopically reconstructed and they don’t do that anymore. Besides, these days I’m more into breaking my collarbones (he types, conspicuously left-handed, while his right arm dangles uselessly in a sling).My most visible change is the one-inch scar over my right eye that I acquired at the same last time I broke my other collarbone (the left one – I only broke the right one recently to maintain symmetry).

  40. Comment by tayfuryagci | 10.31.2005 | 1:09 am

    hey fatty thanks man, that really means something to me. ( I’m a little too mushy for the spectators here but whattaheck :))It’s a slow season for me now because of the month of fasting but in a short while ( a week) I’ll start cycling again and I’m hoping to launch the english version of my blog shortly afterwards. fatty mail me at tayfuryagci at gmail dot com and we’ll trade msn adresses if you’d like of course.

  41. Comment by Unknown | 10.31.2005 | 7:08 pm

    Thirty-four chinups. We were amazed and astounded. Maybe I should put a chinning bar in my office doorway…

  42. Comment by Rachael | 10.31.2005 | 8:54 pm

    mountain bike chain ring through the achilles tendon facia… funny that as my husband walked me off the trail, I was too busy telling him about the hike we could do in the afternoon to really notice the gaping tear through my ankle (so thats what the fat layer looks like on the inside huh?).


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.